ADELAIDE coach Matthew Nicks has apologised to Crows supporters after his side's disastrous defeat to North Melbourne, saying the performance was not AFL standard.

KANGAS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats 

The Crows' winless start to 2020 continued with one of their worst games of the season, falling to North Melbourne by 69 points and conceding the highest score of the year so far to the previously 17th-placed Kangaroos.

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Highlights: North Melbourne v Adelaide

The Kangaroos and Crows go head to head in round nine

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Nicks, who is still chasing his first win as senior coach, said the loss was unacceptable.  

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"It's a big step backwards. I love our people, our players, our staff, and our coaching group, but we took a big step backwards today as a group, unfortunately," Nicks said post-game. 

"I'm sorry to our supporters for the performance we brought. It wasn't at the level. It was nowhere near the level and we're playing AFL football."

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Nicks: 'We had far too many individuals'

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks apologises to Crows supporters after his side's dismal display against North Melbourne

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The Crows had pushed St Kilda in round seven and fell three points short of beating Essendon last week at Adelaide Oval. Nicks said the thrashing had undone the Crows' recent improvement. 

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"It was really disappointing. We know we're going to have challenges along the way, this is a transition period we're going through. There are going to be challenges and we just experienced one," he said. 

"Unfortunately some of it is maybe in the way we prepared, we'll have to go right though that, we'll have a look at it all and get to the bottom of it." 

Meanwhile, Roos forward Nick Larkey will have scans on his ankle after the key forward finished Saturday's win off the field.

The 22-year-old, who kicked two goals, faces a tight turnaround before North's meeting with Geelong next Wednesday in the AFL's condensed fixture block. 

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Leaping Larkey drags down a belter

North Melbourne key forward Nick Larkey takes a great mark in the final term

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The ankle concern for the important forward, who has played only two games this year due to injury battles, was the only sour point in an otherwise complete performance for Rhyce Shaw's side, which snapped a six-game losing streak as Majak Daw made an inspirational return to the field.

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Uplifting day for footy as Daw returns

Outstanding scenes as Majak Daw makes it back to the field after after a long and difficult journey

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"That played a little part in the week and it's pretty special seeing Maj out there again, but we've been working really hard as a football club and a team and the boys have never shirked an issue," Shaw said post-game. 

"We've had six losses but we've licked our wounds, reviewed the game, we've done it all properly and they've come out today and got reward for that hard work. It's just good to play the footy we want to play. That's the footy we want to play."

An injury to Larkey could open the door to a return for omitted spearhead Ben Brown, who was dropped for the clash, but gun midfielder Ben Cunnington won't be back, with the Roos no closer to knowing when he will overcome his back injury that has resulted in quad issues.

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Shaw: 'Pretty special seeing Maj out there'

North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw speaks about how proud he is of Majak Daw after the brave Roo played his first game in almost two years

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Earlier on Saturday, Roos football boss Brady Rawlings said that it was a chance Cunnington had played his last game of 2020. 

"One hundred per cent it's a possibility. It's a possibility he might be back in a couple of weeks as well. We've just got to take it day by day with him, just with the strength, but, as I said, the longer it goes, then the more preparation time he'll need to get back to playing, so the next week or two are big for Ben," Rawlings told ABC radio.